Mike Shanahan Refuses to Go out Like a Punk

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterDecember 11, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 25:  Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins watches play from the sideline during the second half of an NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at FedExField on November 25, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

At some point during the incredible, rambling, audacious, blunt and angry Mike Shanahan press conference that amounted to one giant middle finger to the world, I expected a giant hook to come out and grab Shanahan by the throat, yanking him off the stage.  

If there was any thought that Shanahan would go out like a chump, this killed it. He knows he's getting fired, and he has basically declared to the world: "I'm punching everyone in the face as I get shoved out the door."

Dan Snyder? Come get some.

General manager Bruce Allen? Step up to the plate, homeboy—got something for yo ass, too.

The media? Here's a knuckle sandwich for you and you and you.

Everyone got a taste of Mike "Bone Crusher" Shanahan. That's because Shanahan doesn't care. He's a walking dumpster fire, and if you catch flames while getting too close, so be it.

"I'm trying to be as honest as I can, and I don't normally do that," he said in what is the quote of the year.

Another gem: Shanahan said that he talked to Snyder about the quarterback situation, but that "Dan could care less about the other positions."

Oh, wow.

This press conference will go down on the same level with Denny Green's "Let 'em off the hook" and Jim Mora's "PLAYOFFS?" Better also than Herm Edwards' "You play to the win game" or Jim Fassel pushing all his chips in. While Shanahan didn't yell, make funny faces or shake the podium, and while his rant won't be a Coors Light commercial, his press conference, in many ways, was even more epic than those two examples or Iverson's practice rant.

There was more at stake, and unlike those others, Shanahan was defending himself—and by defending himself, I mean he was giving the middle finger to anyone and everyone.

This was Shanny's Last Stand. The Alamo-shan. If Shanahan was going to have a difficult time getting another job before this, and after his firing, then this press conference sealed his chances as zero. Negative zero. Unless every coach in football catches some type of Andromeda Strain virus that only incapacitates coaches, no one will ever hire Shanahan again. No one. Unless it's as a motivational speaker.

He can't be trusted. In defending himself, he revealed private conversations between him and Washington management. Shanahan's goal in that press conference was to make sure people knew that, nope, he was not trying to get fired, nor being treasonous, not ignoring Snyder's wishes, by benching Robert Griffin III.

In fact, Shanahan revealed that Snyder and Allen were completely on board with the benching of Griffin.

"I talked to Dan Snyder about a week ago, talked to him about the amount of hits Robert has had," Shanahan said. "Any time you've been hit as many times as he’s been hit, I thought it was in his best interests, and the organization's, to talk about whether we should continue playing Robert if he's been hit as much as he’s been hit."

ASHBURN,VA - JANUARY 6:  Mike Shanahan, the new Executive Vice President and head coach of the Washington Redskins and owner Dan Snyder (L) shake hands before a press conference welcoming Shanahan to the Redskins on January 6, 2010 at Redskins Park in Ash
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

This was startling. Because over the last 48 hours, Shanahan was portrayed as a rogue coach going against the wishes of his owner just so he could collect his seven million. But that wasn't true.

So, if it wasn't, why in the hell did management let Shanahan roast on an open fire? Why not say outright that everyone in the organization agreed with his decision? Not through leaks. Not using innuendo. But a statement of some kind backing Shanahan.

I'm sure this irritated Shanahan as well and created this, his Sith moment, where he tired of it all and went to the dark side.

There has never been a more tangible case of a coach defending himself while setting flame to all current and future bridges upon which he stood.

I'll give Shanahan credit. The man has some gonads.

Dan Snyder couldn't care about other positions.

He actually said that. He. Said. That.

What Shanahan said about Griffin was also telling. Shanahan has said something like this before, but this was more poignant and instructional.

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 16: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins jokes with head coach Mike Shanahan also of the Washington Redskins during pre-game warm ups prior to playing against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on September
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

"My job is not always to be somebody’s friend," Shanahan said. "My job is to coach him. My job is to get the best out of somebody. I'm not looking to Robert to be liked. I hope that the respect level is there and that he does like me."

Translation: Griffin doesn't like me because I try to make him a better player.

This was an epic press conference in the middle of a story that resembles more soap opera than football season.

I know Shanahan a little. He is privately fiery, so in some ways, this is not a shock. Remember, this is the guy who stood up to the late Oakland owner Al Davis. In many ways, Shanahan is fearless.

Sometimes that fearlessness morphs into Shanahan telling everyone to go screw themselves. That's what you saw in the press conference. He wanted no part of playing the patsy.

He wanted no part of going out like a punk.

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.